Trail dreamin’

Today was the second ever Thursday Trailday. Last week I did my first outside run post injury with a local trail running and group. Today I met my friend A at 7.30 AM for a run on the trail right by my work.

One of the positive things about taking an unscheduled (and unwanted) period away from running was the time it gave me to really think about why I loved running. And how I needed to refocus a little on making it more fun. Running the same routes around my neighborhood was getting a little stale. So what’s a runner to do to spice things up? In Salt Lake City we get on trails.

And trails round these parts means lots of hills. Check out mile 2 – 400 ft increase in a mile. It was tough. And my calves were burning. But at the top you earn a pretty view over the city.

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There’s something satisfying to me about the symmetrical shape of this elevation chart.

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At the top of Dry Creek looking at downtown SLC.

And on trails you definitely earn your downhills. Downhill trail running is so much fun – although I still feel like I’m applying the breaks when it gets steep or rocky. A is an awesome mountain biker and kills the downhill sections. I’m hoping some of this will rub off on me and I’ll be better prepared for my three trail races over the summer.

Lucky for me I could take a shower at work and then eat breakfast at my desk.

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I love berry season! And had some homemade chocolate chip zucchini bread.

And the absolute best part of the run? It was completely pain free. No foot pain. And no knee pain. Best run in months. I’m finally dreaming of consistent pain-free running. And this is the best timing possible because marathon training starts next week.

How was your morning?

And I’m back……….

I’ve taken a week away from blogging mainly due to a major work-related presentation that I had to give last week. It went pretty well and I got some positive feedback so I can cross that off my list of things to stress over. Done and done.

The other big news is that I can run again! After two weeks off from running including 5 completely exercise-free days I was dying to get back at it. And with no foot pain to report (just knee pain which I’ve been dealing with for most of the year).

Mon: 3 miles on the treadmill at 8.35 min/mile pace + 1.5 miles on the elliptical (because I can’t quit you just now).

Tues: Strength training (hello legs – how you doing!)

Wed: 3 mile tempo “run” on the elliptical + 2.5 miles on the treadmill at 8.35 min/mile

Thurs: 5ish mile trail run (see below)

Fri: Rest

Sat: 8.77 mile run at 8.27 min/mile

Sun: Climbing + 3.3 mile recover run at 8.55 min/mile

Mon: 4.25 mile trail run at 9.03 min/mile

So the good news is that I can run again! Woohoo! And I’ve missed it so much. It rained non-stop for my long run on Saturday. My shoes were squelchy and soaked through after about 5 minutes but I didn’t care. It just felt so good to be out there. I did get to exchange some “I can’t believe we’re out here running in this weather” looks with all the runners I met during my run but secretly I was happy to be getting my miles in, and convincing myself that I will be able to run this half marathon on June 14th.

My first outdoor run was on Thursday. And in my usual go big or go home style I opted for a 5ish mile (my absence from running meant that I could no longer work my Garmin for the first half mile) trail run. This was done as part of a group run organized by the people who run the Park City Trail Series. I ran a couple of these races last summer and am signed up for the 5, 10 and 15K races this year. The races are always a lot of fun and they have the best raffles ever. At the group run this week I won a packet of pro-bar chews. J got a brand new visor. I also managed to find a friend to run with! She’s new to running but is pretty speedy and is down to run a weekly trail run near work. Win win win. The run itself had a little over 700 ft of elevation gain with half of that being in a single mile. It was tough.

Sunday’s recovery run was nice and easy around one of the nearby parks. It was the afternoon and it seemed like the whole of Salt Lake was grilling with their families. So nice to get out and feel part of this.

Monday involved a couple of hours of work but since I had most of the afternoon off, I decided to head out to a trail that I love. It has amazing views, and for a Utah trail run isn’t that steep or calf-killing. 663 ft of elevation gain but pretty evenly spread out. And gorgeous scenery and weather. The only downside was the 20 mins it took to get past the fee collections station.I guess Salt Lakers decided this canyon was the place to be today.

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Nice and shaded to beat the heat.

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Pretty flowers.

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Looking down towards Salt Lake City.

 

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Stream crossing.

 

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I think this my be one of my favorite trails to run in the valley.

 

 

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That sliver of gray is the road you drive up. The trail is at about 6000 ft.

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To me, it’s a little alpine.

 

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The turnaround point.

This weekend I also tried out my new Spibelt for the first time. It felt fine on my long run but the next day I had a pain in my back from the exact area it was sitting on. For the trail run, I swung it around so it looked like a fanny-pack/bum-bag and it felt much better. But pretty pleased with my purchase.

There’s always something……….

It’s been a whole year since my first half marathon. And looking back I can’t help but feel jealous of my first 6 months of running – so many firsts (first double digit run, first sub-8 min mile), a new love of sport and fitness (did not see that coming) and most importantly injury free running. No aches, no pains. How did that happen? Beginner’s luck is the most obvious (and unsatisfying) answer.

After 4 full days of rest I headed to the gym on Saturday for an hour of strength training. Sunday was 6.5 miles on the elliptical followed by one mile on the treadmill. It was amazing! I had missed running so much. Monday 3 more treadmill miles + 1.5 miles on the elliptical. Tuesday morning more strength training.

And the good news – my foot feels so much better. A couple of aches and twinges yesterday but completely fine today. I am planning on doing a mixture of running + elliptical this week to ease back in to it.

But there’s always something……..and with me it’s my right knee. I’ve been having some kind of knee pain since the end of January (4 months!). My physiotherapist seems to think it’s due to weak glute muscles and should be ok to run through. But it’s still painful after taking complete rest days. So frustrating!

My current thought is that since my left foot was all tendonitis-y that I was overcompensating with my right knee and aggravating it. So now that my foot is better the knee pain should subside. Right, right………please tell me I’m right. I’m going to see how it goes and arrange a physio appointment for next week. Somebody told me yesterday (at a very strange personal training appointment that I’ll fill you in on later) that I need to be an advocate for my body.

Four months after my first physiotherapist appointment I am feeling worse than ever despite following all her advice and religiously doing all the prescribed exercises. Maybe it’s not me……….maybe I need to try someone new. Someone new who accepts my insurance!

It’s pretty quiet around our place right now. That’s what happens when one person is nursing injuries and the other is doing the last set of long runs for his marathon. We did get a bunch of (much delayed) spring cleaning done including spring comforter. One of my absolute favorite things in the world is getting into a freshly made bed. And we grilled like there was no tomorrow. Eating dinner outside makes everything taste awesome-r.

BBQ pork. J is the man behind the grill. Check out those impressive grill marks. My job is to make the sides. Healthy potato salad and a carrot salad with pine nuts, raisins, cilantro and a cumin-garlic dressing.

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Mexican salad (I think lime and cilantro are my two favorite ingredients). Plus this cool new beer from one of our local breweries. A benefit of having a home-brewer in the house is a constant supply of new beer to try out.

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Paprika potatoes and tequila-glazed chicken thighs. All of our grill recipes come from this amazing book we found at Costco. I think it’s a Cooking Light BBQ book. Everything in it is amazing.

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If you live with me and run 17 miles in one go I will make you pancakes. That is the deal. I hope J reciprocates in 4ish months.

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I also made a trip to REI and picked up a Spibelt ($15 using my coupon). It’ll be holding my phone and Gu s (99 cent each right now at REI) for my next half marathon. I’m hoping to try it out as soon as I can.

Smoked salmon risotto

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Recipe time! This is adapted from Jamie Oliver’s original Naked Chef book. This is my go-to basic risotto recipe and almost foolproof.

I make this much for two very hungry runners:

1 pint fish stock (I used a whole carton of fish stock)

1/2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion chopped

3-4 stalks of celery finely chopped

1 clove of garlic finely chopped

7 oz arborio rice

1/4 cup dry white wine (sauvignon blanc or riesling works best in my experience)

2.5 tbsp butter (you can get away with less if you want to make it a little healthier)

1/3 to 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (you can really add as much as you like)

1/2 bunch of asparagus (cut into half inch pieces)

1/3 cup frozen peas

4 oz smoked salmon (I used half a packet of Trader Joe’s smoked salmon)

Directions:

1. Warm the stock in a pot. Keep warm (not hot) for the duration of cooking.

2. Heat the oil in a large pot (I usually use a stock pot).  Add onion, celery and a pinch of salt. Cook on a medium heat for 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another two minutes.

3. Add the rice. Turn up the heat – medium-high. Stir the rice constantly for 2 minutes.  Add the wine. Turn down the heat.

The rice will now begin to absorb any liquid that you add. The trick is to add enough so that the rice is cooked but does not turn mushy. This might take a while to figure out but usually takes about 25 minutes. At the start the rice is translucent. This usually means the rice isn’t cooked. Once this translucency  is completely gone the rice is done. Make sure to taste as you go. If it is chewy keep going.

4. Once the wine has been absorbed you can begin to add the stock. Add a ladle full at a time. Once each ladleful has been absorbed, add  more stock. This should be done on a lowish heat – not boiling but a gentle bubble. I used almost all of the fish stock.

5. Once you think the rice is almost done add the asparagus and frozen peas. I cooked them for 7ish minutes. You can always cook them separately and add them at the end.

6. Keep tasting the rice. When you think it is done take the post off the heat. Add the smoked salmon, butter and Parmesan. Allow the butter and cheese to melt and you are ready to serve. I like to garnish with more cheese and black pepper, I also added a little bit of lemon juice for this recipe. I usually serve it with some crusty Italian bread. You can never have too many carbs, right?

Shifting expectations

Today is May 14th and that means it’s exactly one month to my next half marathon. How did that come around so fast? J is running the full marathon (and training like a beast) so I figured I would get up at crazy o’clock and travel down to Provo with him. Run my race and meet him afterwards to celebrate our new PRs. Perfect!

Well, if you’ve read my last few posts you’ll realize that this is probably not going to happen. It’s now been 10 days since my last run. And two whole days since I did any sort of cardio. Not ideal race preparation.

For my first two half marathons I was totally prepared. I got a full 12-week training plan in and was ready to go for it at the start line. This time – not so much. I’m pretty confident that if my foot is pain-free (and it is feeling SO much better) then I’ll be able to finish. But it won’t be fast. And I won’t PR. This bummed me out for a while. This had been my goal race for the year. The race I would smash my PR (it has a reputation for being a fast course), and gain a ton of confidence for starting full marathon training.

Then I decided to be positive. First of all, J and I took a road trip to check out the marathon course (J had heard rumors of unexpected hills). And guess what – it is a really pretty course. I decided that I was going to enjoy this race. For my first two half marathons I went all out and struggled in the last couple of miles. I raced them and it hurt a little. This time I want to experience the race. And maybe take a decent race photo!

This is probably obvious to a lot of you but as soon as I start I race I want to give my all. Go big or go home. So for me this is a new way of approaching a race. Plus I need to look after J (who I think will smash his PR). So the plan is to ease back in to running next week (with a plan B of ditching the race completely if things go badly) and not to put pressure on myself. New mantra. Enjoy this race! Enjoy this race!

Surprisingly, I’ve been coping with my two exercise-free days pretty well. I think taking this break is exactly what my body needed – sorry for not listening to you earlier). An extra hour in bed and of course more time to cook.

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Chocolate chip zucchini bread.

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This is my favorite chocolate from TJ – and it weighs 500g.

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Quinoa, mango and veggie salad – it’s been my lunch all week with some slices of avocado on top.

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Fishcakes! And we used up the rest of the smoked salmon to make salmon carbonara. I’ve been on a real fish kick recently.

Any foods that you’ve been loving lately?

Do you always race your races? Any advice for “enjoying” a race?

Eating and not running…..

It’s been 8 (!) days since I went for my last run. Instead I’ve been ellipticizing or whatever that verb may actually be. Pandora and Netflix have been helping my push through. And some very un-May-like weather.

Friday night was spent re-habing with some snacks from Trader Joe’s and frozen peas.

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Like shesgoingthedistance – I also believe in WRICE (wine + RICE).

Saturday was a “tempo” 3 mile elliptical session followed by some strength training. Followed by lemon-cranberry scones.

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I’ve made this recipe before with chocolate chips and my sweet tooth preferred the chocolate version.

J and I then celebrated a friend’s graduation before having an early night. Marathon training (J) and being an old lady (me) will do that to you.

I was feeling a lot better on Sunday and got in some epic elliptical mileage. I coped with this by watching the trashiest reality tv I could find on Netflix (hello Keeping up with the Kardashians). No obvious aggravation of my foot. Hell yeah – on the mend!

After an afternoon spent doing chores, wedding-related stuff (4 months today people!) and beer making, J and I teamed up to make some asparagus and smoked salmon risotto. I think reading about Italy (honeymoon destination) has got us both in the mood for Italian food.

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I also managed to make some homemade granola bars. They were a little too crumbly for my liking but tasted great when paired with some chocolate ice cream.

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Monday morning workouts are usually a struggle for me but today I hopped right out of bed at 5.50 AM feeling good and ready to see what new awfulness the Kardashians would inflict on the world. Foot felt good and I took it pretty easy. This was followed by a pretty hectic day at work.

I was getting a little pissed off that I could still feel some foot pain. I mean I took ONE whole week off running shouldn’t I be cured by now? Patience – not my strongest personality trait. But I wasn’t overly worried until I got home, took off my compression sleeves and realized that my left ankle is pretty swollen but weirdly not painful? (no pictures – after Piratebobcat’s bloody sock I think the internet is overloaded with gross photos). This has sent me in to total panic mode. I thought I had figured out what was wrong with my foot but maybe a visit to the doctor is called for. And total rest. Prepare yourselves for lots more food posts – looks like I might be catering a pity party soon.

 

 

 

 

Friday catch-up

I read about a million running blogs. Seriously. I love reading about people training, racing and finding a way to fit running into their life. I don’t follow many blogs about people getting their kicks on the elliptical everyday of the week. Mainly, because I don’t think they exist. Does anyone, anywhere really prefer relentlessly pounding away on this silly machine to actually going for a run? If you do, I don’t think we can be friends – opposite life view.

The thing I like about the ellipitical is that I can use it without hurting my foot. So it’s got that advantage over running right now. I’ve managed to do 13.5 miles so far this week on my new favorite inanimate object with more to go this weekend. Luckily the weather is really crappy here right now so it’s not too big a sacrifice to confine myself to the indoors.

The foot is feeling a ton better than yesterday. The plan is to see how it feels by the start of next week and take it from there. My calf has also decided to get in on the action and has been super tight. I’m following Sarah’s advice over at runningonhealthy and stretching them out as often as I can. It did take me 4 days to realize that it might be a good idea to wear my compression sleeves to help my calves out. I am not a smart woman.

So that’s where the recovery is at. Elliptical is fine so I’m trying to keep my mileage up. Strength training is fine. Yoga and climbing are out. PSA: Squeezing a sore foot into teeny climbing shoes or resting on the front of your feet during upward facing dog do not help with foot pain.

I have been enjoying some delicious eats. Burger with sweet potato fries (my new absolute favorite thing to eat) and Mexican skillet zucchini.

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I’ve been having a ton of salad for lunch this week. I think it’s a form of rebellion against our cold and rainy weather. Plus mango.

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And finally, Dijon salmon (amazing!) with parsnip mash. For this mash I swap out milk and butter for Greek yogurt and lemon zest.

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Does anyone else get excited for what they plan on cooking at the weekends? I’m planning on making lemon-cranberry scones and some homemade granola bars. Just have to work for 4 more hours.